This Sunday, July 5, I’m playing an in-the-round type show at one of my favorite Chicago clubs, The Hideout. The show is put on by a group that calls themselves “Get Off The Couch” (GOTC). Taking place on the first Sunday of every month, GOTC is a showcase for Chicago-based singer-songwriters performed Nashville-style: four artists perform four songs each during two showcase rounds, which is then followed by a headlining set by the featured artist and their band to top off the night. The show is hosted every month by singer-songwriter, Sam Wahl.
The headliners on Sunday are two 17-year old sisters from Chicago, The Kelson Twins. Interestingly, the bios of the rest of us don’t include our ages…..Thank you, GOTC.
Come and join us – you might find your new favorite singer-songwriter. And at the very least, they have delicious tamales for sale from Dia De Los Tamales, and a pretty cool door prize. Get advance tickets here.
No one has ever asked me that – “May I have this dance?” I mean boys asked me to dances, but once we got there I can’t remember a request to actually begin dancing. Dance we did, though, however it was decided. I particularly recall dancing to Richard Marx’s “Hold On To The Night” with one Rob Creasey in the Weaubleau High School cafeteria at my first 7th and 8th grade dance. I was thinking about this because a few days ago, I went shopping with Grace and a couple of her friends to find a dress to wear to the first-ever middle school dance at Skinner North. She ended up with two to choose from (both of them were under $20!) and so she’ll have this week to decide which one fits best with the “Oscar Night” theme.
I don’t think our dance had a theme…but, oh the outfit I chose! I got a brand new pleated denim skirt and paired it with one of those flowered-only-in-front silken vests that were so popular in 1989. And brown leather penny loafers. And both a curling iron and a crimping iron were employed. Beautiful!
So far it seems like Grace’s dance partners are all as nice as my friend, Mr. Creasey, (it’s convenient that they all have Instagram accounts I can follow) and I’m thankful for that. But I feel like somewhat of an imposter – not at all like the mother of a person old enough to go to a middle school dance.
I am quite good, though, at doing hair.
I got back last week from a short tour through my home state of Missouri and one stop in Kansas, and have been happily thinking about the people I met ever since. All but two of the shows were house concerts, and although these sorts of venues are smaller than a club, the huge payoff is that you get a quiet audience, no sound check, and low to no overhead. Especially impressive was the concert series I played in Manhattan, KS called Our HOUSE. The venue is situated on a bluff in beautiful Manhattan (home of Kansas State) and two of the walls in the listening room are continuous windows with lovely views. The hosts, Jonathan and Mary Lynn, invited all of the attendees to a potluck which began an hour before the show. And it was plain that many of those in attendance were avid concert goers who really cared about discovering new artists and supporting independent musicians. I recommend trying to hear one of their concerts if you’re ever in the area.
It’s been nearly a year since I played at The Old Town School of Folk Music. But I’ll be back as a quartet (with Doug Zylstra, Christian Dillingham and Katie Abernethy) on Sunday, March 1. If you haven’t yet seen a show in the smaller Szold concert hall, join us! And if you have, join us anyway. We are cooking up a new song and perhaps it’ll be done. I really hope it will be. For advance tickets: http://bit.ly/jodeestu.
What day is this, anyway – the 16th? Too late for a post about the new year, detailing my resolutions to floss my teeth every day and spend more time writing blog posts. Really, what I’ve been thinking about is what was going on in my life ten years ago. I was in the last days of preparing to release my first-ever studio album at The Abbey Pub and was seven months pregnant with our second child, Luke. Sadly, next Wednesday, January 21, will mark the 10-year anniversary of the date Luke was stillborn to us at Swedish Covenant Hospital.
I think of him a great deal, especially each January. But this year has been quite a lot harder than usual. I guess because it’s such a large, round number. Ten years. Enough time for significant change to have taken place. And, a lot of things have changed in that span: our two youngest children (Lila is 7, Owen is 4) were born; our oldest daughter, Grace, has grown into a lovely and steady 12-year old; my strong, funny father died; we moved to Lincoln Square and my husband, Chad, started a church there; I recorded and released my first solo record; I took up and put down (some of my) destructive addictions; I started drinking coffee; I stopped pretending to be fine (well, sometimes).
I have not, however, stopped wondering what Luke would have been like, counting our family as six instead of five, and wishing that I could make my oldest son a birthday cake.
I clicked on a link to this website through my cell phone this morning and the first thing I saw was a blog post from nearly 5 months ago. I noticed, while skimming what I’d written, that my writing ability is not of the quality that a post such as this can stand on its own for that long. I’m sorry. My 3-year old son has recently been enrolled in preschool, and I really have no excuse for neglecting this website. Or writing a new album, or cleaning the bathtub, or having a friend, or volunteering to chaperone a field trip for one of my three children. Nevertheless, neglected they are. Instead, I’ve been going to hot yoga every day at noon and watching Twin Peaks on Netflix. In an attempt at productivity, I want to tell you:
We have one more club show in 2014. On December 4th, we’ll be at Lincoln Hall with our good friends, Jonas Friddle and The Majority. I’m feeling a little Christmas-y – so join us for some holiday tunes!
And on December 12th, we will play a benefit concert to provide a clean water system for the orphanage in Cavallion, Haiti. It’s being put on by Trinity Presbyterian Church in Hinsdale, Illinois. Jonas, Maria McCullough and Doug Zylstra will be on the bill, too.
Yesterday Doug and I played a few songs on “Both Kinds”, Al Finley’s country (and western) radio show on WNUR. It got me thinking about how people discover new music; about how I discover new music. Because I have elementary school aged children, a fair bit of my music discovery consists of analyzing the lyrics to “Talk Dirty To Me” and wondering where I have gone wrong as my daughter and her friends rap the middle parts in the back seat of our….minivan.
If I add some of this color to my own music, will tweens everywhere line up to buy it? No. They won’t. Because they will never hear it (I concede presumptuousness). At least not until they become old enough to want to distinguish themselves from their friends by refusing to listen to any band that they have not personally discovered. And, then, they probably won’t be starting their search in the middle-aged country artist section…not for years and years, until alcoholism and adultery begin to make sense. Anyway, I like college radio.
After Off Broadway in St. Louis, we will head to Blue Springs on Friday and turn south to Bolivar on Saturday. I’ve played Off Broadway several times (love it!), but never before at the Trouser Mouse Bar in Blue Springs (they have an excellent and friendly talent buyer – Brad!). Nor have I played at The Bean 3:16 in Bolivar (home of the Liberators!). I feel at home in both these cities, like this-is-where-I’m-really-from home.
Blue Springs means Kauffman Stadium and my Kansas City Royals, where I sat in the front row behind home base with my dad when I was in second grade. A sigh for the good ole days….George Brett and Bret Saberhagen. Dad liked baseball – well, the Royals – until the strike. I didn’t see another game at Kauffman until 1996, when Johnny Damon was in his 2nd or 3rd year with the Royals. I saw 26 games that season.
And then there’s Bolivar – the closest city to my house that had a movie theater, a Wal-Mart and a Pizza Hut. Since it was 35 miles away, Pizza Hut wouldn’t deliver (imagine!). So we ordered out and my dad and I would drive to pick it up. Of course it was already cold when we got home and we had to warm it up in our 1980 model microwave oven. But we spent the trip singing harmony to Manic Monday by The Bangles, rewinding it 27 times in our cassette player and laughing.
I’m excited to be back at home with this new album, which has a lot of home written into it. I hope you other show-me-staters can join me!